Work Place

Work Place

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Car Parking

It became a wont and quotidian for me to come to the office on bike at 1000hrs. Our work hours start at 0930 and closes at 1830hrs; but it is nothing furtive in private firms that you have the leeway to choose your working hours, because of the clunky drudgery.
I reside at 5km away from my office. It is easy to commute on bike in the metropolitan traffic.
One day, since it was down pouring, and shame on me, I don’t have a poncho, I came in car at the wonted time,  and not expected, but ineluctable that I didn’t get parking for my car; only 5 slots for my company. The next day, it happened again and I had to park 1km away from my office that too in a small by lane, where there is no chance for cops to tow my Chevrolet.
I discerned after few days that some employees come early to get the parking, not that they have work.
Whenever, I come in car, I always have to make sure that either I complete my ablutions and work outs at least an hour early or I have to evade those workouts or skirt my ablution cycle to park my car. I have to see the picture down the line after 5 years; grody or grotesque!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tourney to Kerala with Family

 Tourney to Exquisite Kerala with Family
                             Alleppey – Kovalam – Kanyakumari – Trivandrum

June 13 2012— 

I have booked cab (fast track) and reached Chennai Central Station. It was 1930hrs in the evening. We reached before 2hrs to the Central Station. I, my consort, 20 months daughter, my younger brother, father and mother hurled in to the station with 5 bags of luggage. After much discussion about our dinner point, we went to the usual and the obvious hotel ‘Saravana Bhavan’. All had idlis, better when you are travelling. Our train was at 2115hrs (Alleppey express).

I planned for the trip to Kerala 45 days back. The complete customized package charged me Rs.25645/- (Train tickets not included).

The Plan— June 14 at Alleppey in house boat (Indraprastham) and June 15, 16 in Kovalam (near to Trivandrum).
Initially, devised for Munnar, but changed as it is monsoon season in God’s own country.  The train started on time and after crossing Cochin it became a passenger train and took nearly 3hrs to cover 112 km (but astonishingly, reached before time) at 1030hrs (right time is 1045).

June 14 – Houseboat Indraprastham - doomed

Since we booked everything before (through Travel Guru), the chauffeur came and picked us in tempo to drop us in the house boat. The check- in time was 1200hrs. We reached there just on time and the house boat owner told us that it will come in 10 minutes. We waited for 1 hour and we checked in at 1300hrs.

My Brother, Father and daughter waiting for the Houseboat
The service was appalling, annoying and inexplicable. I have tried to reach the owner of the house boat (rajesh), after numerous calls (always phone engaged), I called ‘Travel Guru’ and they connected me to him and even then he was stuttering to tell. The house boat was horrible, cob webs, dust and speckles everywhere.

Room dirty with cob webs

Untidy boat

We thought to plunge into the water and take bath, again water clogged. We had to ask them to bring water in buckets. Somehow, we completed our ablutions and finished our lunch; the only thing that was good in the house boat. After an hour after starting, the house boat stopped and I thought it was their routine, but even after an hour, when it was static, I got the doubt and inquired; they took one more hour to answer my curiosity and mewled that boat’s motor has malfunctioned.

Again called the saviour, “Travel Guru” and then another boat came to pick us at 1600hrs. We left our entire luggage in the first house boat and went for just 2 hours cruise in the new one. It was very tidy, beautiful (inside) and especially the care-taker was benevolent. After 1800hrs, they stopped near by some houses and we again shifted to the old house boat. They happily claimed it was in shape and working.
An exotic view in Alleppey
One more night mare, the AC wasn’t functioning properly, after numerous checks, it finally started working; we drowned into our sleep and exactly after an hour, the power was gone. The crew was asleep and no one was bothered, fortunately the mosquitoes didn’t munch on us. All through the night there was no power.
The nasty House boat

June 15-- Varkala

Again next day morning, they shifted to us to the new boat after a better breakfast.
It was deplorable, lamentable, slipshod service and the owner was pococurante. Please don’t choose “Indhraprastham” house boat. I have spent Rs. 10000/-

Our chauffeur (Binoy) came at 900hrs and was waiting. We disembarked the house boat by 1200hrs and started for our next destination to Kovalam. My mobile (Sony experia mini pro) navigated at one more place, Varkala, nearly 100 km from Alleppey. We zapped to that place and planned to reach Kovalam by evening. Varkala, Varanasi of the south, is good, not great with just beach lying in the turf.

Varkala Beach
On the way to Varkala, we had our lunch in the hotel (forgot the name) that was horrible. We reached Kovalam (hill and view resort) at around 1800hrs. Absolute elegance perched in the middle of coconut trees, lying just 200m from the beach, sparkling clean and good servicing. We had our dinner in the hotel (average) and had very good sleep. We planned to Kanyakumari for the next day (83 km from Kovalam) as my mom was avaricious to visit.

June 16-- Kanyakumari

We started at 845hrs in the morning and reached 1145hrs (very narrow, but good roads); since Kanyakumari is in Tamilnadu, they have charged Rs. 300 at the check post. Again after a while, you have to show your papers in Tamilnadu and they charge you Rs. 20. Kanyakumari was really good visit. Once in a life time you have to visit. Natch, the maintenance was spectre.

Vivekananda Mandapam on the rock
Vivekananda rock 
We had our dinner at Saravana (not the Saravana Bhavan) and visited Kanyaka Parameshwari temple. We reached Kovalam by 1930hrs. Since it was an add-on trip and I didn’t plan for Kanyakumari in the plan, we paid extra Rs.3000 (Varkala and Kanyakumari). The driver was a taciturn, in a way it is good, but will not help travellers much. It was raining cats and dogs that night and water splattered inside our room, though the doors and windows were closed. It happens some times...
Thiruvalluvar Statue

June 17-- Very less time in Trivandrum

We checked out by 800hrs and went to Padmanabhaswamy temple, Trivandrum (20 Km from Kovalam). The architecture was a treat but the god was not visible, only his fingers. Men have to go bare-chest, draping white dhoti under waist. Ladies have to wear saris or drape white cloth, if they wear anything else, other than sari. Kids, who can walk also, have to drape a white cloth.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple
The toilets at the temple are very expensive. Irrespective of the need, they charge you Rs. 5. We went to the palace adjacent to the temple and it was good. After the visit, we had breakfast at hotel Mahavir near Kovalam gateway and it was lip-smacking. After finishing breakfast, we went to kasuvumalika to buy traditional saris, very near to Hotel Mahavir.
We reached Trivandrum Central by 1330hrs to onboard our train at 1615 hours. (Anantpuri Express); reached Chennai late at 1030hrs on June 18 (right time is 840).

I have spent Rs. 45000 for the entire trip including everything, though I feel, it can be schemed much better for that amount. I am bonhomie for travelling with my entire family after 17 years and the trip was good on the whole.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Yelagiri- Tourney

Yelagiri- The Tryst! Is It Worth?

My ‘father and sister’- in- law came for the first time after I moved to Chennai nearly 22 months back. I was planning for a good trip, either to Pondicherry or Yelagiri and perched on the later due to the aestival days. We embarked on to our tourney to Yelagiri in the dog days of summer, May; scorching heat and sun billowing fire.

We, totally 5 people(I, my wife, 20 months daughter and ‘father and sister’ – in- law) started at 640hrs on dot in my ‘Chevrolet Beat’ from Chennai on May 19’12. I am not acquainted with Chennai roads and took help of GPS (Wise pilot), which was always a saviour to me; I have taken the Kanchipuram- Vellore route. We reached at 830hrs to Hotel Woodlands that is on the left side after passing Kanchipuram. We had good breakfast, little expensive, but worth it. We reached at 1130hrs to Yelagiri. If a hamlet residing on hill is defined as hill station—then Yelagiri is hill station. It has 16 hair pin bends and sultry weather.

I booked “Hotel Yelagiri Holiday Home, Athanavoor” in advance. We checked-in to the hotel by 1220hrs after initially mis-judging with similarly-named “Hotel Yelagiri”. After checking-in the owner, Bhoopathy, came and told us to leave with scoff and resentment as he doesn’t have any intimation from Stayzilla (through them I have booked the hotel). I immediately called Stayzilla and they helped me speaking with this so-called Bhoopathy. He still claimed that they didn’t inform him and now all the rooms have been reserved. He navigated us for nearly 4 km to a cottage (R S COTTAGE). He said it charges Rs. 4000 but since it was not our mistake, he gave that cottage for that night. It is really beautiful cottage with tall jack fruit trees and it was like as if we were in the middle of small forest.

Yelagiri’s weather was dull, bland and the sun was just little less bright than that was in Chennai. We had our lunch at Hotel Surabhi (we are vegetarians and meal charged Rs 55/person). The word horrible was next to the lunch. We went to the boat house, Rs 10/person, again simply horrendously clean and charges Rs 50/person for the boat. I completely eschewed as there was rectilinear line and didn’t want to wait to rush out of the park. When inquired for the water falls (Jagadambara), they claimed that they are dried. So disappointed, really, slowly rode down to the cottage, but since the road was impeccable, I drove further and then found serene park in Nilavoor, about 5 Km from Athanavoor. It is an artificial lake and we spent about an hour, considering the fact that the musical fountain starts at 1900hrs in Nature Park, the only place that is really worth watching in Yelagiri. The musical fountain was better than that we saw in Brindavanam, Mysore.

I never had coffee in the last 25 years and since there was no tea available in the Nature Park, I reluctantly, hesitantly, inevitably had to have coffee. It was really nice coffee; probably the reason is I haven’t tasted it for long. The musical fountain kept everyone enticed for the first 3 songs, later it was a yawn. We came out of the park by 2015 hrs and planned to have dinner at Hotel Yelagir Hills, as suggested by Mr. Bhoopathy. He claimed it to be very good. When we went inside, all the tables were occupied and they were waiting for their orders to be arrived. After much scouting for hotel, on the way to cottage at Hotel O’Nila, they suggested to go to Hotel Landmark, which is at proxy to Lord Murugan temple.

It was buffet, charged Rs 250/person (no other option at 915hrs in the night). The food was lip-smacking, sumptuous, and delectable and indeed, had gorgeous finger-licking dinner that night. In fact, that was the only best thing we did the entire day after a nice 4 and ½ hrs drive on the flawless tarmac from Chennai to Yelagiri.

I drove to the cottage and reached at 1020hrs, it was little scary 3km drive; no lights, pitch-dark and completely silent with no other organism visible. We had good sleep and woke up at 700hrs in the morning. I planned to drive down to Vellore early to visit Golden temple after breakfast. We had breakfast near to Hotel Yelagiri, again disdain with the quality and the cleanliness.

Now, this is the addition to my woes—I was punching on my phone for directions to reach Golden temple with arms akimbo at my car with door opened and keys dangled inside. Unexpectedly, the door slammed and car locked. Whoosh..., not expected, but started to surmise.

I didn’t think much and immediately called “mytvs”, break down service (paid 1250/year- Gold member). They said it will take 2 hours; luckily we were very near to the only best place in Yelagiri, Nature Park, and went inside. After 45 minutes they called me and said that the technician was on his way. The technician arrived after 60 minutes, unlocked my door in nearly 5 minutes (didn’t charge a single penny), though I offered them Rs 50 (not bribe), how many people come on time and do their work properly in India.

We set to Golden temple at 1240hrs and reached by 1410hrs to Vellore after gormandizing lunch at Hotel Lakshmi. We embarked at 1800hrs at Vellore for the return trip and suddenly, within no time, the rain god exploded, caused detriment and wreaked havoc with hailstorms for almost 40 minutes. We stranded on the road after the ice cubes smacked my car glass. We reached Chennai at 2100hrs after packing dinner at a hotel.

Finally, we were in Chennai. Yelagiri, I spent nearly Rs 6000 including the petrol cost and it is not at all worth it, if we had missed the Golden temple. Yelagiri is famous for jack fruit and honey. You get them every nook and corner.

Is it a hill station? 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Laser for Renal Colics- “Kidney stones”

Laser for Renal Colics- “Kidney stones”

In the year 2006, when I was in England pursuing Masters in Laser Engineering, as part of the curriculum, I had the rarest opportunity to witness kidney-stone-removal-procedure.

Laser science has carved a niche to a different-level. Laser Lithotripsy is one of the procedures to get rid of these (stones) renal colics. This treatment crushes kidney stones without touching any sharp instruments.

The technique, Laser Lithotripsy uses fibre laser. This is ingrained into the patient’s body through the urethra and up to the ureter. Once it reaches the stone, the laser is turned on and the stone is abraded.
The advantage of laser surgery is a higher success rate than with traditional methods and the laser is more effective on bigger stones.

After the surgery, when I spoke with the patient, he was very happy as the pain was less and that too the doctors claimed that the recovery period in this type of surgery is very less.
The advantage of using laser for surgeries is that the contract area is very minuscule, almost negligible, but the surgery has its own drawbacks. A few to say: the patient may experience bleeding for few days after the procedure.  It may cause infection, tissue scaring, and fluid overload.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pain -- Kidney Stones

The Real Pain--
Pain has started all of a sudden in the abdominal region. Initially, the pain was mild and then it excruciated. My father never had this severe pain. I immediately rushed for the doctor; both my father and doctor felt that it was because of adulteration of food. He felt nauseated and started feeling weak.  Doctor gave him some tablets to soothe from pain, but in vain.  Even after an hour, he was hollering with pain and started screaming, “Give me some poison, I can’t bear this pain”.
He doubted about something and passed saline into him. He has injected some medicine into it and exactly after half an hour the pain subsided.  He was skeptical that my father has kidney stones and exclaimed that the injection is rudimentaril used to relieve the pain from kidney stones.
The next day in the scanning, it was confirmed that he has two, not so big, stones. These are also called “Renal Colics”.

What We Can Do—
It is really hard to explain as why the kidney stones are formed; there are plenty of reasons and factors that form them. Kidney stones are not dangerous, but the pain will kill you. Sometimes even blood comes out of the urinary tract. If the stones are small, they can be removed naturally by allowing them to pass through the urine.
The best things to do, when you are writhing in pain because of kidney stones:
1)      Drink more water. It will help the passage of stones to be smoother.
2)      Citric acid helps to break the salt from the stones.  Take fruits rich of citric acid like lemons, oranges, grapes, etc.
3)      Be away from calcium rich diet; it will enhance the formation of stones.
4)      Keep away from tomatoes and spinach.
5)      Be away from alcohol and have fibre rich fruits.

The pain is really unusual for those who have no health problems, but there is no need to perturb, if proper care and medication is taken.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Agniputri and The Missile Woman-- Tessy Thomas

Her agnomen is “Agni putri” and “Missile Woman”. She is the first woman to head a missile project in India and one of the few women working on Strategic nuclear ballistic missiles in the male-domineering world of clandestine missile development programme.

Agni-V has been triumphantly tested on April 19 2012. One of the key players in making this ICBM a reality is Scientist “Tessy Thomas” from DRDO. She has taken the mantle to guide the team of scientists to fire the robust and truculent weapon in the country’s arsenal.

She, Roman Catholic, was born in Alappuzha, Kerala to small-business man family and was named after “Mother Teresa”. From her school days, she was adept at solving problems in mathematics and was engrossed with Science; pre-eminently she was confounded at the rocket launches from Thumba on the purlieus of Thiruvananthapuram. 

At the age of 20 she left to Pune for perusing M.Tech in Guided Missiles from “Defence Institute of Advanced Technology” (then Institute of Armament Technology). There she met Saroj Kumar, her husband, commodore in the Indian Navy. Her son, Tejas, named after LCV (Light Combat Vehicle), is studying in Vellore Engineering College.
Ms. Tessy Thomas has embarked on her journey with DRDO, when she was chosen as one of the 10 young talents from the country in 1985 for DRDO programme.

Her dedication, endeavour and patience brought her many accolades. She has worked under the genius, Missile man, former President Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam as her director, when she was faculty at DRDO, Pune for Guided Missiles. She was designated as associate project director for Agni-III, Project Director for Agni-IV and reached to the zenith for heading the Agni-V mission.

She has now set her eyes on multiple independent re-entry vehicles.

Monday, April 16, 2012

What, How, Why --- Recession

Define Recession--

 A country’s ‘Gross Domestic Product’ (GDP) substantially dwindling for two or more quarters in succession during a Financial Year preceded by numerous slackened quarters define Recession.

A View---

It is true to the adage, “the world shivers; whenever, it snows in the US”. This is clearly discernible the way markets around the world plummeted and global economy impeded from apparent recession in the US.

The enervating American economy is bad news for everyone including India.

Symptoms of Recession---

Any economy usually upsurges for a period of 6-10years, then trudges to grow and reaches saturation in economic life cycle. After the saturation, 6- 24 months is down sliding period that precipitates to recession.

Recession smacks, when the consumer becomes parsimonious and wary to spend due to lack of confidence in the growth of economy. This triggers less demand for goods/services; it proportionally reduces the production, scales lay-offs, and exponentially raises unemployment. Ultimately the investors and stakeholders fear about stock values and shell out less. The stock markets dilapidate as pack of cards.

Always the economy and stock market are linked. The trend of economy correlates with the efficacy of stock markets. The Indian market has also tumbled as US economy has decelerated.

Recession-- Impact of the US---
Many Indian companies have outsourcing deals with companies in US.
The exports have also been bountiful. According to the statistics, the Indian economy might wither for the companies that have dealings in US. Exporters’ worries will augment further once the dollar wanes against the rupee, so frail dollar would sanguinely accrue more foreign money to Indian markets. Recession could deflate oil prices to nearly 3/4ths of the present value and will slim down inflation.
The US economy comprises 30% of the total GDP globally. The only silver lining in this cloud is that this will take at least 6 months; at a scampering pace.
 In the second part-- I will be engaging on the consequences!